possible volcanic origin.
© El CommercioOfficials are baffled and want to rule out a possible volcanic origin.
A mysterious burning crack is releasing gases since two weeks in a small village named Columbe situated in the Ecuadorian Andes.

The steam started coming out of the earth about 15 days ago after a controlled burn of weeds.

A column of steam and gas continues to emanate from a mysterious crack that opened up in a hill near Columbe, in Chimborazo, Ecuador.

The area has been evacuated because it is still unknown if toxic gases are released by the unexplained underground emanation.
mysterious crack appeared in the ground of Columbe,
© El Universo This mysterious crack appeared in the ground of Columbe, Ecuador and baffles scientists.

Incandescent material burning underground.
© Metro EcuadorIncandescent material burning underground.
Investigations are ongoing. Soil and gas samples have been taken by technicians of the Geophysical Institute of the National Polytechnic School.

activity of a nearby volcano?
© Tele AmazonasIs this strange phenomenon liked to the activity of a nearby volcano?
The strange phenomenon has most probably a volcanic origin as the burning crack and the gas emanations are located approximately 45 km from the Chimborazo volcano.

45 km to the next active volcano.
© Google Earth.45 km to the next active volcano.
But officials try to rule out a volcanic origin saying the burning crack was created by the controlled burn.

According to them the underground remains incandescent and emanates gases since 2 weeks because the soil is full of organic matter, which is considered a good fuel.